Summary: Wise men came late to the party... but at least they showed up. Then - as now - many are too busy to bother. Why would so many people seek something else to focus on during the Christmas season?
OPEN: It was almost Christmas Day, and the mother of a 3 year old boy was furiously running from store to store trying to get her last minute shopping done. Suddenly she realized that her son’s pudgy little hand was no longer in hers. Frantically she began to look around and then not finding him nearby, began to quickly retrace her steps. She found him standing with his little nose pressed flatly against a frosty window gazing at the manger scene. She shouted his name and upon hearing his mother’s voice, he turned and shouted with innocent glee, “Look Mommy! It’s baby Jesus – baby Jesus in the hay.”
Frustrated because she was pressed for time and because of how scared she had been when he slipped away from her she hastily grabbed his hand and jerked him away saying, “Come on! We don’t have time for that!”
APPLY: Now, I REALLY don’t think she meant to say that. I doubt she intended to tell her child that they were too busy for Jesus… but that’s pretty much how it sounded.
And too often that’s actually what happens in people’s lives.
Not that that’s anything new.
That sort of thing has been happening for ages.
Sometimes its on purpose… sometimes its by accident… but people just get too busy for Jesus.
As an example, consider our story about the Magi this morning.
When you look at a manger scene what do you usually see there?
There’s Mary and Joseph, and the baby Jesus. And gathered around the manger, you’ll see cows and sheep and shepherds. But who is usually standing at the manger? That’s right, the Wise men.
Now a manger is a feeding trough. It’s the place where people would put the hay and oats for their cattle. It’s something you’d find in a BARN. But when the wise men arrive, where are Mary and Joseph living (vs. 11)? That’s right… Joseph and Mary and Jesus are in a HOUSE
“On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him….” Matthew 2:11
From other information we find here in Matthew it appears that Jesus must have been about 2 years old when the Wise men came to offer Him gifts. They’re no longer living in a barn. They’ve found a house to live in, and Joseph must have set up shop in town as a local carpenter.
Two years have transpired since the birth of Christ.
The Wise Men are late to the party… but at least they showed up.
The shepherds came - some time back - but (as far as we know) nobody else has bothered to drop by.
But now here come the Wise Men and they stop in at Jerusalem to ask directions to the place where the new King was born. And nobody seems to have a clue what is going on. They have to drag out the Chief Priests and the Teachers of the Law and those guys have to search thru Scripture till they find a prophecy about the Messiah and where is to be born. And – lo and behold – He’s supposed to be born in Bethlehem… about 6 miles south of there.
(That’s about the distance from here to Clymers – a nearby community).
Notice how the people of the city of Jerusalem respond to this news: “When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him.” Matthew 2:3
The people of Jerusalem were (pause) “disturbed”
The Magi tell the people there that their Messiah has just been born in Bethlehem and all they can do is get a little disturbed.
You’d think they would rush out to see if they could find him.
You’d think they would make some banners, strike up a marching band, have ticker tape parade!
The promised Messiah has come!
But they can’t find the time to go 6 miles to go see Him.
Of course, that’s what prophecy had said would be the case:
Isaiah 53 tells us “He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.”
Or as the Apostle John wrote: “He came unto his own, and his own received him not.” John 1:11
So the best you could say about the people in Jerusalem was that they were apathetic about this news of Jesus’ birth. They essentially ignored the Christ Child. They didn’t have time for Him.